To rock, perchance to dream….
This would be my first time seeing Dream Theater and this was no less than an emotional, visual and senses assault on me and everyone in the packed house at the Sony Center for the Performing Arts in Toronto, ON Canada. A massive elegant stadium with sweeping arches and perfect, sloped everyone-can-see seating, it was a perfect venue to see an equally classy band of this stature.
The pre-concert recorded jive was a hilarious mish mash of progressive humour and when the lights exploded, everyone was on their feet…until the end of the near 3 hour spectacle before us.
Killer tracks such as The Dark Eternal Night, The Bigger Picture and To Live Forever, As I Am (with a Metallica snippet of Enter Sandman) were greeted with thunderous cheers and I was greeted with a secondary act of apparently Dream Theater’s #1 fan beside me, screaming every word, of every song every minute every second. Somewhere in the utterly clean flowing music my ear caught a bit piece of Rush’s Xanadu! The Jaco Pastorius bass cover of Portrait of Tracy by bassist technico John Myung was superb.
Lead vocalist supremo, James Labrie’s audience banter was great, punctuated with roaring appreciation when he mentioned his Canadian heritage and raucous laughter when a front row fan threw an item onstage and Labrie cut his talk with a jokingly well placed, “don’t throw things on stage , I’ll hit you man…” Once he saw it was a Canadian flag, he showed an appreciation and then placed it on batterie extraordinaire Mike Mangini’s kit, where he was met with a hilarious “don’t put that on here man.”
The show continued for at least 1 hour 10 minutes until Intermission.
“Act 2” was Images and Words in its entirety, my favourite album (besides Octavarium) plus some of the most stunning imagery and lighting I have ever seen. I was with people who do not listen to or have ever been to Dream Theater and they were constantly amazed at the energy, power and heart in every ounce of their performance. During more audience banter, remarking on their earlier days and being in New Orleans once for…FIVE people, someone told them that “if you guys were paid by the note, you’d be millionaires.” Huge audience applause here; I believe it; I don’t know how they keep all that straight.
Take the Time with guitarist eccelente John Petrucci’s extended solo, Metropolis Pt. 1 The Miracle, The Sleeper with technical percussion proficiency par excellence and probably, not a mistake made, with Mike Mangini, the keyboard solo intro at Wait for Sleep by super-super ivory-ticker Jordan Rudess rousted continual applause every time. And what WAS that portable keyboard? Outstanding!
Not sparing us at all or themselves came an encore of another entire album, A Change of Seasons. My colleagues were weary, some of the audience was barely conscious, fewer hands in the air now, some people leaving…. It was an incredible ears-ringing-after-2-days experience; no one can ever say you do not get your money’s worth here both in quantity and quality.